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Keeping Up with the Burgers
McDonalds has long dominated the burger market and continues to do so in the UK. But the US owned, giant fast food chain is in the midst of a make-over. Posher burger chains are springing up everywhere and McDonalds is now offering table service and new-look restaurants. Matthew Gwyther, Editor of Management Today, asks how and why McDonalds feels the need to present a new image to its customers and whether it will work in today's health conscious society. Producer: Caroline Bayley.
The Art of the Meeting
We spend hours in meetings at work so what can we do to love them more? Tanya Beckett looks at the art of the meeting and asks how can we make them more productive & enjoyable. How do you deal with the person who never stops talking, or someone who spends an entire hour on their smartphone? Tanya learns how to prepare for successful meetings and discovers that how they're run tells us a lot about the culture of an organisation, and even a country. Produced by Smita Patel.
Rebooting Rural Russia
The Kremlin has been flexing economic and political muscles on the world stage but the Russian economy is struggling to keep up. Plunging oil prices, U.S. and European sanctions over Ukraine and military operations in Syria have all taken their toll. People across the country are feeling the pinch but rural areas are the hardest hit – much of the countryside is empty and dying. Almost 36,000 villages, or one in four, have 10 residents or fewer. Another 20,000 are abandoned, according to the latest census. Young people left long ago for cities and towns – the collective farms which once would have employed them disappeared along with the USSR. It’s a bleak picture but some young businessmen and women are trying to revive Russia’s dying villages with a mixture of traditional craftsmanship, social enterprise and shrewd marketing. In the impoverished Pskov Region, Kirill Vasilev employs 15 villagers to make Valenki –felt boots made from dried sheep’s wool, the footwear of peasants and tsars for centuries. Traditionally, valenki come in brown, black, gray and white, but Vasilev produces versions in a variety of bright colours which he sells in a fashionable part of his native St Petersburg. Now he has plans to expand to London and New York. He is inspired by the world-famous UGG boots and Crocs, which also had their origins in ethnic footwear for Australian and Dutch farmers. Will he succeed and what difference could it make to the village of Dolostsy on the Belarusian border? Lucy Ash visits Kirill Vasilev at his Valenki workshop, meets his employees and finds out more about the challenges facing small businesses in Russia. Produced and presented by Lucy Ash (Image: Pile of Valenki - felt boots made from dried sheep's wool. Photo credit: Viktoria Zhgel)
The Big Fat Greek Struggle
How have private businesses fared in Greece since the crisis began? The economy has shrunk by nearly a third and unemployment has soared. So what have companies had to do to survive? And have any managed to actually thrive? Louise Cooper meets hopeful entrepreneurs, embattled importers, and a few small companies going underground in a bid to avoid rising costs and disappearing demand. Can Greece ever return to growth? Producer: Rosamund Jones.
From Ex-Offender to Entrepreneur
The number of women in prison globally is rapidly increasing. The Institute for Criminal Policy Research has calculated that between 2000 and 2015, the female prison population around the world grew by 50%, compared with an 18% rise in male prisoners over the same period. Re-offending rates are high, and overcoming the stigma of a prison sentence makes finding a job extremely tough. But can entrepreneurship break the cycle? Caroline Bayley speaks to six former women prisoners across three continents. They were convicted under different circumstances and of different crimes – but they're united in their passion for business, enterprise and self-employment which has allowed them to turn their lives around on the outside. Producer: Alex Burton (Photo: Woman in prison holding bars. Credit: Pikul Noorod/Shutterstock)